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A New Technique For Creating Diamonds Discovered 119

schwit1 writes: In discovering a new solid state for carbon scientists have also discovered that it is a relatively inexpensive way to produce diamonds. The researchers have found that, depending on the substrates, tiny diamonds will form within the Q-carbon, suggesting that they have actually discovered how diamonds are formed deep below the Earth. The hot high pressure environment there allows Q-carbon to naturally form, and in the process of its solidification diamonds are a byproduct. According to Gizmag: "Professor Jay Narayan of North Carolina State University is the lead author of three papers describing the work that sees Q-carbon join the growing list of carbon solids, a list that includes graphite, graphene, fullerene, amorphous carbon and diamond. He has suggested that the only place Q-carbon might be found in the natural world is in the core of certain planets. The researchers created Q-carbon by starting with a thin plate of sapphire (other substrates, such as glass or a plastic polymer, will also work). Using a high-power laser beam, they coated the sapphire with amorphous carbon, a carbon form with no defined crystalline structure. They then hit the carbon with the laser again, raising its temperature to about 4,000 Kelvin, and then rapidly cooled, or quenched, the melted carbon. This stage of quenching is where 'Q' in Q-carbon comes from."
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A New Technique For Creating Diamonds Discovered

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  • by BarbaraHudson ( 3785311 ) <barbarahudson@NOSPaM.gmail.com> on Monday December 07, 2015 @11:09PM (#51078147) Journal

    There are way more diamonds available than an open market will support (as anyone who bought "investment grade" diamonds found out to their chagrin when they tried to cash in 10 years later and can't even get the price they paid). The only way for deBeers to continue to maintain the cartel is to do the same they did when the Russians threatened to flood the market - make a deal.

    • by msauve ( 701917 )
      Where's the +zero Obvious to anyone paying attention moderation choice?
    • by Antique Geekmeister ( 740220 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2015 @12:30AM (#51078441)

      > found out to their chagrin when they tried to cash in 10 years late

      One doesn't usually purchase diamond jewelry to make a direct profit. One purchases diamond jewelry to hide the assets and keep its ownership and sale out of official record keeping. It was the economic salvation of many immigrant families to have at least a few stones secreted in their luggage, and in some cases even inside their own bodies.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 08, 2015 @01:40AM (#51078639)

        Selling individual diamonds at a profit, even those held over long periods of time, can be surprisingly difficult. For example, in 1970, the London-based consumer magazine Money Which? decided to test diamonds as a decade long investment. It bought two gem-quality diamonds, weighing approximately one-half carat apiece, from one of London's most reputable diamond dealers, for £400 (then worth about a thousand dollars). For nearly nine years, it kept these two diamonds sealed in an envelope in its vault. During this same period, Great Britain experienced inflation that ran as high as 25 percent a year. For the diamonds to have kept pace with inflation, they would have had to increase in value at least 300 percent, making them worth some £400 pounds by 1978. But when the magazine's editor, Dave Watts,tried to sell the diamonds in 1978, he found that neither jewelry stores nor wholesale dealers in London's Hatton Garden district would pay anywhere near that price for the diamonds. Most of the stores refused to pay any cash for them; the highest bid Watts received was £500, which amounted to a profit of only £100 in over eight years, or less than 3 percent at a compound rate of interest. If the bid were calculated in 1970 pounds, it would amount to only £167. Dave Watts summed up the magazine's experiment by saying, "As an 8-year investment the diamonds that we bought have proved to be very poor." The problem was that the buyer, not the seller, determined the price.

        The magazine conducted another experiment to determine the extent to which larger diamonds appreciate in value over a one-year period. In 1970, it bought a 1.42 carat diamond for £745. In 1971, the highest offer it received for the same gem was £568. Rather than sell it at such an enormous loss, Watts decided to extend the experiment until 1974, when he again made the round of the jewelers in Hatton Garden to have it appraised. During this tour of the diamond district, Watts found that the diamond had mysteriously shrunk in weight to 1.04 carats. One of the jewelers had apparently switched diamonds during the appraisal. In that same year, Watts, undaunted, bought another diamond, this one 1.4 carats, from a reputable London dealer. He paid £2,595. A week later, he decided to sell it. The maximum offer he received was £1,000.

        In 1976, the Dutch Consumer Association also tried to test the price appreciation of diamonds by buying a perfect diamond of over one carat in Amsterdam, holding it for eight months, and then offering it for sale to the twenty leading dealers in Amsterdam. Nineteen refused to buy it, and the twentieth dealer offered only a fraction of the purchase price.

      • Very true. My own great-great-grandfather came to the United States with a handful of diamonds stored in the heel of his boot, when he fled Prussia. He sold most of the diamonds when he got here, but kept one which eventually passed to me, and which I used for my wife's engagement ring. Side note: family tradition says that great-great-granddad stole that one from a DeBeers facility in Belgium. I doubt it's true, but it ought to be; I like imagining that instead of funding the DeBeers monopoly when I go

      • "One purchases diamond jewelry to hide the assets and keep its ownership and sale out of official record keeping"

        No, one buys proper precious stones such as the carborundum family. Rubies and emeralds in particular hold their value quite well.

        Diamonds are both vulgar and common.

    • by NoNonAlphaCharsHere ( 2201864 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2015 @12:35AM (#51078461)
      The problem with diamonds (for us little folks, at least) has always been that you buy diamonds at retail, but sell them at wholesale. So that pretty much rules them out as "investment grade" anything.
      • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2015 @01:41AM (#51078645)

        The problem with diamonds (for us little folks, at least) has always been that you buy diamonds at retail, but sell them at wholesale.

        There is a solution: eBay. At your local mall, the retail price is about double the wholesale price. On eBay, you can buy a certified diamond, from a dealer with a 99.5% approval rating, for about 10% over wholesale. I bought a loose diamond for an engagement ring on eBay, paid $50 to have it appraised, and then had it mounted on a ring that my fiancee picked out. Saved myself about a full month's paycheck.

        • Myself, I'm a long time customer of the nice Jewish boy who owns the local pawn shop. Gotten some great deals there, especially on the second purchase of the day. Donald Trump is right, "those people" love to haggle :-D
        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          Some girls think it's cheap if you bring coupons to the restaurant on the first date. I'm with ShanghaiBill on this one though, if I were ever inclined to spend that much on a ring I'm sure my fiancée would appreciate that I was smart about it.

          • Some girls think it's cheap if you bring coupons to the restaurant on the first date. I'm with ShanghaiBill on this one though, if I were ever inclined to spend that much on a ring I'm sure my fiancée would appreciate that I was smart about it.

            I've been married multiple times. Will also probably be married multiple times in the future. Never did I ever think "I wonder if she'll like the jewelry I bought for her". Not once.

            My attitude towards SO gift-buying has always been "If you don't like it, there are a hundred other girls lining up behind you to be with me."

    • I suspect that it depends on how difficult the product of this process is to distinguish from naturally occurring diamond(assuming it can produce reasonably large crystals of suitable quality at competitive cost at all, not just industrial-grade abrasives or thin-films). There are already a variety of imitation materials available, some pretty terrible, some really quite adequate for most purposes. If these synthesized crystals can be reasonably easily distinguished(some sort of nondestructive test with rea
      • Diamonds are extremely cheap to mine in volume, so its unlikely that any artificial methods of creation would beat them on cost. Current artificial methods such as CVD are only profitable because of the jewelry industry and the artificially inflated value of diamonds, so it could see niche use if it shows better cost and results than CVD and high pressure methods.

        Even if we were to get high quality diamonds in high surplus to use for jewelry, they'd still be somewhat expensive. Why? The cut is a speciali

        • I'd imagine that synthesizing diamond would be uncompetitive for industrial abrasives(unless there happens to be some cheap method that is considered a dead-end because it only produces tiny crystals); and might well also be hard pressed to match basic, small, natural diamonds; but for applications that require a thin film deposited on something, or big chunks of low-defect material, the naturally occurring options are much rarer. If you wanted to use diamonds for something like packaging semiconductors, to
          • "I'd imagine that synthesizing diamond would be uncompetitive for industrial abrasives"

            You'd imagine wrong. The vast majority of industrial abrasive diamonds are made using TNT (yes really).

            Look up Detonation Nanodiamonds.

    • Other way around, De Beers might go bankrupt; ff this technique produces diamonds cheaply that are impossible to differentiate against natural diamonds,
      • They'll make the same deal as with the Russians - we'll contract to buy $X amount of product (where $X is a huge number), and you don't sell to anyone else. Both parties end up with more money in their pockets.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 07, 2015 @11:10PM (#51078151)
    'To maintain the perception that diamonds were rare, De Beers not only significantly limited how many diamonds they mined each year, but also literally started buying up all the other diamonds and just stockpiling them (along with their own excess supply). Combined with a decades-long advertising campaign, they created a perception out of thin air that diamonds were rare and valuable, and that you had to drop thousands of dollars on one to prove you loved your spouse. The monopoly De Beers holds is so blatantly illegal by U.S. antitrust laws that they've been banned from selling in the U.S. (they're forced to sell to intermediaries on the international market). Until they pleaded guilty to price fixing charges in 2004, their executives wouldn't even set foot on American soil because they feared they'd be arrested on sight. While there are indications that the cartel might finally be slowly losing its grip on the market, it's been a pretty damn impressive run.' http://www.cracked.com/article... [cracked.com] http://www.cracked.com/article... [cracked.com]
    • by msauve ( 701917 )
      Excellent. Not till the end does one see the "cracked.com" link!
      • BTW, cracked.com is NOT directly related to the old Cracked magazine (basically a low rent Mad Magazine ripoff).

        They bought the URL and the logo. Otherwise, AFAIK, it is unconnected... So you can't necessarily ignore anything as humor pieces.

    • by JoeyRox ( 2711699 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2015 @12:26AM (#51078429)
      Da Beers will use the same marketing strategy they use against existing man-made diamonds - telling consumers on how "organic" diamonds are somehow better:

      http://www.bloomberg.com/news/... [bloomberg.com]
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Organic? But all diamonds contain carbon!

      • The natural ones are just so much more romantic. Why sully your finger with some soulless rock synthesized with care, skill, and years of materials science research when you could get one extracted from a giant hole in the ground by the backbreaking labor of mining peons? Even those, though, show a lack of true commitment. Conflict diamonds are where it's at.
        • Quit being so PC, they're blood diamonds. They are great because even though you can't see the blood spilled you can easily imagine it, thereby giving the diamond a rosy glint in your mind's eye. And as we all know red roses means love so, voila! Blood diamonds are the most romantic.
        • Debeers Red, it's not real unless someone has died for your love.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        mod parent interesting

        “We’re very focused on detection,” said the head of technologies at De Beers. “It underpins the integrity of natural diamonds and ensures that consumers cannot be duped into buying a synthetic diamond.” HOW CAN THIS MAN KEEP A STRAIGHT FACE? HE SHOULD BURST OUT LAUGHING AND ADD “I'm sorry, I couldn't keep a straight face. Oh mercy. But seriously: no woman woman would want a synthetic diamond made by some guy in a white coat. They would much rather
      • Yes organic diamonds are far superior. Did you ever go to get a synthetic one appraised and find a disturbing lack of carbon?
    • Adam Ruins Everything - Diamond Engagement Rings [youtube.com]

      A great four minute video that breaks down the whole diamond engagement rings scam (which I fell for, too... if I had to do it again - there'd be no rock.)

      • The next time you get married try a Moissanite ring. Mojssanite is silicon carbide so it's hard as hell and it actually has more brilliance then a diamond. The only ones who will know are the seller, buyer, receiver, and the appraiser, there is no way normal person can find out it isn't a diamond unless someone tells them. You can buy twice the rock size for half the cost. Simply tell your spouse that the rock came from a meteorite and that it's one of a kind, she'll eat it up.

        • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

          It's pretty easy to tell that Moissanite isn't diamond. Just shine a white light on it. The difference in refraction is easy to see by eye: the Moissanite is much more sparkly.

  • The challenge is to avoid these kinds of industrial techniques from being legislated into oblivion.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Expect the diamond cartel not just deBeers but US companies making money out of engagement rings to lean on North Carolina State University and to make political donations to pliable congressmen because "WE HAVE TO LOOK AFTER THE INTERESTS OF OUR SHAREHOLDERS". If companies are people, they are immortal sociopaths.
  • I'm sure... (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I didnt read the summary but I'm sure it involves shoving coal up a conservative's ass and telling them Obama is going to take their guns / free speech / religion

  • by shione ( 666388 ) on Monday December 07, 2015 @11:20PM (#51078209) Journal

    When something is no longer rare but the price is still kept high. We can make cultured pearls but you don't see cheap pearls all around the place. We can easily make diamonds too with a lot of pressure. Ever year tonnes of diamonds are ground to dust to use as a coating on industrial tools just so the price of large diamonds can be kept high.

    • by Kartu ( 1490911 )

      Price talk aside, while we know how to grow large sapphires (to a point that Apple could have used them instead of "gorilla glass"), I don't recall anyone ever succeeding at growing a big diamond.
      Artificial "diamond dust" is all that create so far and that is being used in industry.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        This method appears to create the dust you are talking about, which actually may be of greater utility to industry than larger diamonds.

        However, the older chemical vapor deposition (CVD) can produce fairly large flawless diamonds (in varying colors to boot). The diamonds created by this process actually prompted the industry to come up with a new test procedure. The new diamonds are determined to be artificial because their structure is too perfect to be naturally formed.

        • At least so far as I've been able to determine, these cost from 25% to 50% as much as a natural diamond.

          I won't buy one, due to cost, but I would if they were as cheap as artificial rubies and artificial sapphires: you can get really good sized ones for $10.

    • "We can make cultured pearls but you don't see cheap pearls all around the place."

      That's because cultured pearls are still expensive to produce, but if you go to Tahiti/Rarotonga you can get black ones at 1/10 the retail price (that's where they're cultured).

      Uncultured pearls are fabulously expensive. They make emeralds look cheap.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Come on you boy child
    you winner and loser
    come on you miner for truth and delusion
    and shine

  • So ... diamonds are the unwanted impurity here?
  • ...that some see as sacrosanct is a good thing. I cheer every time I see gold get closer to worthless.

    • by tsotha ( 720379 )

      Why? Good idea or no, a lot of decent people have put a large share of their savings in gems and precious metals.

      • Those people who put a large share of their savings in gems and precious metals made a mistake. it's a bad idea to begin with.

        The reason I want mineral prices to drop is so they can be used more places. Gold is a great conductor, and diamonds are still pretty. The lower prices drop, the closer I get to my dream of a diamond-studded, gold-plated toilet.
        • by EzInKy ( 115248 )

          Exactly, it is only the value added by human labor that dictates the worth of things. Sad to see so many who neglect the teaches of Adam Smith.

        • by mark-t ( 151149 )
          Gold supply on earth is too limited to ever drop in price. All of the world's gold could fit into a cube that is less than 20 meters on each side.
          • Even now, gold is almost cheap enough for a gold-plated toilet.
        • "The lower prices drop, the closer I get to my dream of a diamond-studded, gold-plated toilet"

          As soon as space-based mining is a "thing", the precious metals markets on earth will collapse. Gold and platinum are relatively common in space and relatively rare on earth because most of it sank to the core during planetary formation (It's believed most crustal deposits are courtesy of the LHB)

          Even if undersea mining takes off you'll see a step-drop. Metals concentrations around various volcanic vents are 10-50

      • by EzInKy ( 115248 )

        Stupid people perhaps. Anybody who doesn't realize that the only true value lies in labor deserves to be fleeced. Review Adam Smith if you will.

        • And yet, labor is paid a smaller and smaller share of what if produces [wordpress.com]. You hear a lot of talk about the verities of Adam Smith on the right, but none of them seem to have actually read him (cherry picking is not reading).

          The seem to have a lot of time to read "Atlas Shrugged" though. Both books are about the same length, but Adam Smith is much easier going.

      • Why? Good idea or no, a lot of decent people have put a large share of their savings in gems and precious metals.

        The world would be much better off if they invested their money in productive assets. If you invest in stocks or bonds, or a family business, then your money goes to help companies expand, and create jobs, goods, and services. If you invest in gems and precious metals, your money goes to expand mines that cause horrible pollution, and extensive erosion. Many gem and gold mines use children or coerced labor. Anything that makes gems and precious metals a worse investment, is a good thing.

        • by tsotha ( 720379 )
          The way the money supply works right now any investment you do with your savings has no effect. Banks are dying to lend money to credit-worthy borrowers, and there's no limit to the amount of money that can be borrowed.
    • Gold almost worthless??? -- Lets make the wires of our houses out of gold! - oops only a swimming pool of the stuff exists.. there is this thing - scarcity vs demand. And when fiat currencies fail - what do people turn to?

      You could buy dollars - bits of paper that have value based on what the political elites tell you - of course those same people tell lies about most everything. So how is gold going to become worthless - in the long run vs fiat currency? Gold looks like a pretty good buy right now. Gol

    • by mark-t ( 151149 )
      When is it that you've seen gold get closer to worthless?
  • by batistuta ( 1794636 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2015 @12:32AM (#51078449)

    Women always want diamonds because they are "beautiful". If their price drops to the floor, I wonder whether they will still like them on their wedding rings. Truth is, most women don't care about what they wear, as long as they have the feeling that you bought them something special. And if their friends envy them, then it's even better.

    • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2015 @01:55AM (#51078685)

      Women always want diamonds because they are "beautiful".

      No. They want them as a demonstration of their potential mate's commitment and willingness to expend resources. Peacocks grow big tail feathers. Men buy diamonds. The reason is the same.

      If their price drops to the floor, I wonder whether they will still like them on their wedding rings.

      Of course not. A cubic zirconium gem looks just as good as a diamond, yet few women would knowingly accept a CZ engagement ring.

      • Most American women don't know anything about the history or the current market situation of diamonds. It's not very complicated to explain (audio) [freakonomics.com]. Go ahead and try - if your woman is interested then that's good. If she still wants a diamond afterwards, unless she's really specifically enthralled with the way the light reflects around inside the diamond (it's pretty impressive with a high quality gem), then perhaps it's best to move on. You don't really want to spend your whole life with a woman who values

        • ... then perhaps it's best to move on. You don't really want to spend your whole life with a woman who values diamonds just for the price.

          I predict that you will have as much mating success as a peacock that plucks out his tail feathers.

      • 100% this

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        I prefer to be friends with my future wife. Friends don't expect diamonds. More than that, I'd only want to marry someone who has the financial sense not to waste money on bling.

        Fortunately there are plenty of women like that. Maybe you are looking in the wrong place.

        • "I prefer to be friends with my future wife. Friends don't expect diamonds."

          My wife bought me a diamond wedding ring, but that's what you kind of expect when she's a jewellery designer.

          (I find it uncomfortable and it scratches stuff too much, but SWMBO has spoken)

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Q-carbons are a girls best friend?
    • by labnet ( 457441 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2015 @02:48AM (#51078827)

      Women always want diamonds because they are "beautiful". If their price drops to the floor, I wonder whether they will still like them on their wedding rings. Truth is, most women don't care about what they wear, as long as they have the feeling that you bought them something special. And if their friends envy them, then it's even better.

      Good summary. A woman is actually looking to be valued which requires the man to suffer pain. Pain in researching, pain in the wallet. Flowers are similar. For example, flowers from a service station are much less valuable than flowers from a florist, even though the product might be very similar. The service station is convenient and cheap; so the woman perceives your love for her as convenient and cheap.
      I'm not saying this is bad thing; it is just the way most women are wired.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        It's not that one picks flowers from a convenience station, it's that a woman can _tell_ you picked them at a convenience station. They're very keen to lying, because, as it turns out, women are taught to lie to protect themselves from harm. (For example, society pressures them not to be open about how much they enjoy sex, so they aren't labeled a whore, and that men will behave themselves around her.)

        In short, be honest. If you want a cheap whore, buy cheap flowers. She won't care.

        • Women are innate liars? What is this, the sexist pig Olympics? Please try again, without mentioning the Garden of Eden myth. Have you even heard of Bluebeard?
          • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

            To be fair, he clearly said women are taught to lie. That is, they are not innate liars, society makes them that way.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        It's not women, it's human beings. Men want expensive shit too, even though there is functionally and even aesthetically similar stuff available at a fraction of the price. Genuine kits for their favourite sports team. Rare pokemon. Sports cars that they never take racing. Even trophy wives.

        That's how consumerism and advertising works. My girlfriend likes those ugly Vitton handbags, because her friends have them. I tell myself I want an expensive oscilloscope to do engineering with, but actually my current

      • by Minupla ( 62455 )

        Mehaps you're not finding the right women then? My wife and I have a running joke about me spending too much money at Tiffany's - then I buy her what she really wants, which is typically some piece of gaming PC hardware, or a Raspberry Pi, etc. Don't get me wrong, she loves the occasional nice piece of jewelry, but she'd kill me if I did something so impractical with our money as buy an overpriced piece of jewelry from Tiffany's. She'd rather get a shiny gaming laptop :)

        More and more women and finding th

        • Strongly agree. Last year we rebuilt my woman's PC.

          Her first requirement? "I want the graphics card you have, and I want a crazy fast CPU" (she was on an old Athlon X4 that was showing it's age in the games she plays)

          If I bought her jewelry I'd get yelled at. She wants a bigger SSD next.

          • by Minupla ( 62455 )

            Yip, awesome isn't it?

            Met my wife on a MUSH in the 1990s. Best TCP connection I ever made!

            Min

      • [snip] I'm not saying this is bad thing; it is just the way most women are wired.

        I read that as women are weird. I am not saying it is a bad thing; Just the way I am wired.

    • Well I'm proper fucked. I'd gladly try to pass of a CZ ring, til i remembered the girl I'm dating is from a family of jewelers.

    • I don't think they care if it's beautiful or not; what you mention of envy is the reason. Basically it's a comparison game and they want "substance" to talk to their friends/family -- see how much he adores me.. so she needs proof..that's all. Whatever she can show-off to the world that she is worthy..she will go for it. I believe deep down she is comparing herself with other females [male is never a competitor to a female; he is already won before the competition even starts]. She is just looking for exter
  • When many will have diamonds, they can lose value even more.
  • What Size? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tinkerton ( 199273 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2015 @06:23AM (#51079383)

    Size matters with diamonds and I find nothing about size.
    There is a large industrial market for tiny diamonds and these can be made in more than one way. This is probably about making the tiny ones cheap.

    There are detonation diamonds, created in the high pressure of contained explosions. Iran has gotten a lot of attention for their work on that in Parchin because if they do contained explosions that can only be because they want to make nukes.

    • Your post is the only on-topic one so far. Yea, the value of this is not creating diamonds for the jewelry market. This new process allows them to create bulk quantities of micro-diamonds at very low cost. What are they good for? Tools for industry and medicine. I'm guessing there are a number of electronics and display applications. I suppose it is speculative.

      Narayan says he envisages Q-carbon's first useful application will be in creating "a diamond factory for nanoproducts" for use in drug delivery and industrial processes. "We can make Q-carbon films, and we're learning its properties, but we are still in the early stages of understanding how to manipulate it," Narayan says. "We know a lot about diamond, so we can make diamond nanodots and microneedles, [but] we don't yet know how to make Q-carbon nanodots or microneedles. That's something we're working on."

  • Diamond manufacturers hate it!
  • Stone age -> bronze age -> iron age -> steel age -> information age -> carbon age

Heard that the next Space Shuttle is supposed to carry several Guernsey cows? It's gonna be the herd shot 'round the world.

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